Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our governments sure know how to waste money

Tim Fischer is an ex politician, a leader of National Party, previously Country Party, and was in a conservative coalition government. He is also a pope loving homophobe yet he loves trains, so I am conflicted. He will be on this forthcoming week's Q & A on our ABC. Post politics, he was appointed ambassador to the Vatican. While initially I thought having an ambassador in the Rome church was such a waste of money, further thinking led me to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is very influential in the world, so maybe it is not a bad thing to spend our taxes on Australia's representation to the Holy See, for the fat lot of good it probably did.

Lordy, I have shot down my own argument already. Well, speaking of wasting money, there is the stupid Flinders Street Station redevelopment money that our State Government has wasted.

But here is a good one. I am going to do something about it because it involves what I consider some of my rather direct taxes.

I don't know why Albert Park is under control by Parks Victoria and not the local council. I suspect it happened under the evil Kennett government when Kennett put the Melbourne Grand Prix car race in Albert Park.

In our last drought, in the early 2000s the lake nearly went dry. More storm water was directed into it and I also remember an experimental sewerage recyling system being built, later demolished. Before the GP race each year, a lot of water is taken from the lake to water the verges of the race track to make it look pretty for the camera shots. 

Parks Victoria have done some quite nice work at Albert Park Lake, with reed beds to filter storm water and replacing worn decking, which Non Dreaded Nephew worked on some years ago.

Now Parks Victoria has been funded by the State Government for improvements to Albert Park Lake, to keep the water level high in summer by redirecting even more processed storm water from the 'burbs. Other benefits are that water will be available for irrigation of Junction Oval and St Kilda Road trees.

Great, you may think, as I did initially for 30 seconds.

How will water get to Junction Oval and St Kilda Road trees? A pump? Would have to be a big pump. Perhaps it will be solar powered?

City of Melbourne has turned its side of St Kilda Road irrigation system back on in for the last summer but City of Port Phillip did not its side on. We have plenty of water in our storage dams and the monster desalination plant is sitting there unused, although we are paying for water from it, as per contract. The amount of water Melbourne uses as compared to the State's consumption is barely more than a drop in the ocean. Ten per cent comes to mind. Our parks and trees need water in our hot summers and the damage done to the trees in St Kilda Road over the period of the drought was very visible and even though an exemption was sought and granted by Port Phillip, still the trees went unwatered.

But here is what really troubles me, $1,000,000 is going into planning the project and while I agree with more water being cleaned and directed into the lake, re-cycled water for St Kilda Road and Junction Oval at a huge cost is totally unnecessary when there is an adequate supply at hand. Of course if it does not rain and there is a drought, there is no storm water. Duh!

16 comments:

  1. I know we live on a dry continent but we also have lots of rainfall in many parts. I can't understand why Governments of any persuasion can't come up with some plan (expensive it may be) to redistribute excess water to areas of need.

    Would a Government be able to construct a Snowy Mountains type scheme in these times?

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    1. Victor, one day someone will invent something. Maybe they will call the invention a pipe. If a pipe could be built from Perth to Kalgoorlie in the early twentieth century, it should be quite easy to do now.

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  2. Water is the new oil, some say. I doubt many will be happy with the 'final solution' to the battle over Murray-Darling Basin water rights.
    But as you say, Andrew, we are already paying for "water" from the desal.
    Planning seems a frightfully expensive process, doesn't it? Next, we'll have to pay for government PR telling us we like the solution.

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    1. I thought Murray Darling had been sorted by Julia? Yes, we are paying for the desal water, to a private company.

      We would not mind planning being expensive if they get it right.

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  3. I haven't checked but I believe our own hugely expensive desal plant is also sitting unused. Biggest waste of money that should have been spent on catching and treating stormwater to be reused in parklands and such places. And what about Queensland's monsoonal rainfalls with the floods? Why can't any government see the value in building catchment dams and piping the water to the drier states? I've read that Queensland's annual rainfall is enough to supply the whole continent with sufficient water. I've probably mentioned it a time or two already.

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    1. River, I did not know you had one too. They are a waste of money.......until we have a drought and they start pumping out water. Recycled water I believe is a viable alternative, but perhaps for money making reasons for mates of governments, that does not seem to happen. Of course water could be piped. I don't know why it isn't.

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    2. The SA desal plant was the result of an expensive consultancy (JG's bestie) that incomprehensibly found that the already working/making money/tried and tested storm water wetland system developed and now used by several local councils was 'too expensive'. Yes, yes ... far better to build a costly desal plant with the usual clauses of payment even when not in use. Oh, and the Salisbury wetland system?? Gets MANY international visitors each year who want to emulate it!! Go figure ...

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    3. Red, I don't know about the Salisbury wetland system. I will look it up.

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  4. I agree with River. We should be able to harness the excess water from North Queensland and yes use pipes.

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    1. Diane, we have already done it with electricity and partly gas. It is quite obvious really.

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  5. I agree with you Adrew, and with all the commentors as well.

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    1. Unusual manner of writing for you Ann. Are you quite well? I am not used to you being so nice and not slagging orf the guvmint.

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  6. Never trust a plan when politicians have influenced it - it's clearly dodgy.
    After a lovely day here the rain has just started and it is supposed to rain for about 16 hours - good for our gardens.
    Water is indeed the new oil I think, and I think that the Scottish Government should fill up oil tankers once they have brought us their precious cargo with precious Scottish water on their return trip to the Middle East.

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    1. Craig, we now have body called Infrastructure Australia to dole out money for big projects. It is supposed to separate politics from projects, but it is failing. With the size of Middle Eastern de-sal plants, I don't think they need water. Whenever there is a drought in Australia, someone proposes towing an iceberg to Australia from the Antarctica.

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  7. I wonder what outcomes a Vatican Ambassador is expected to achieve?? OR is it just an RC fantasy post?? I also wonder when our elected leaders will make the connection between GREEN grass/trees/shrubs, transpiration and temperature?? Maybe I'll hire myself out as a consultant - for $1M I should be able to come up with something!!

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    1. Red, you speak of the great unspoken. Our traditional houses with a lawn, gardens and trees are disappearing in our big cities, being replaced by concrete and brick. The $1 mill is yours.

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